Knee pain that comes on slowly, or as a result of activity that's more strenuous than usual, can be managed at home. Knee pain that occurs from a relatively minor injury can often be safely observed for a day or two to see if self-care measures will be helpful.
Most athletes will experience some knee pain from time to time. Overuse, long training days or bumps and bruises from contact sports often result in minor knee pain that heals within a day or two with some rest and ice. But there.. are some clues that indicate more serious knee pain and injuries that may need to be seen by a doctor for a complete evaluation and treatment plan.
If you have knee deep within the knee joint for more than a day or two your should get checked by a doctor. The knee joint isn't covered by muscle so pain here is rarely of muscular origin.
The first thing that happens after an acute injury is swelling around the site of the injury. When soft tissue is damaged, it swells or possibly bleeds internally. This swelling causes pain and loss of motion, which limits use of the muscles or joints. Swelling is usually obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may just feel as though something is swollen even though it look normal. Swelling within a joint often causes pain, stiffness, and may produce a clicking sound as the tendons snap over one another after having been pushed into a new position from the swelling.
Reduced range-of-motion can indicate significant internal swelling, as well as other joint injuries. If you have limited range-of-motion for more than a day, you should contact your doctor.
Any instability in the knee joint or any sensation that the knee may give out or collapse may indicate a ligament injury to the knee. The knee ligaments provide support and stability to the joint and instability; if they are stretched or torn due to an injury, instability is one of the most obvious warning signs.
A difference in your ability to support your full body weight on one leg,compared to the other, is another tip-off to an injury that requires attention.
If the knee joint looks deformed compared to the pain-free side, you should see a doctor. A fracture, patella tracking injury or a dislocating kneecap might sound obvious, but there are varying degrees of injury.
If you have any of these signs, you may want to see a specialist for a complete evaluation and treatment plan. These resources can help you find the right doctor and get teh right treatment for your injury.
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